The prospect of Michael Andretti trying to enter a Formula 1 team in 2024 has drawn mixed reactions from current F1 team principals.
Mario Andretti recently made public Michael’s attempts to gain a new entry into F1, stating that the team is able to pay the $200 million anti-dilution fee if required and is lodging paperwork with the FIA. Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said earlier this week that he’d welcome a new entry that could become a technical partner in future, a number of his counterparts from other teams are yet to be convinced.
“I think it’s great that there’s the interest for people wanting to enter Formula 1,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. “And the Andretti name is certainly a powerful name in motorsport, and of course they’re not the only ones that are making noises about coming on, but there is a clear criteria through the Concorde Agreement that has to be met and approved.
“I’m sure they’re engaged in that process. And of course that agreement is there to protect the 10 incumbents and not to dilute that, so obviously that would need to be carefully looked at.”
His Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff agreed, stating the need for a potential team to prove it can be competitive immediately to protect the level of competition.
“Andretti’s a name, that’s for sure,” Wolff said. “And the American market is important, but every team joining needs to be accretive – that means needs to add value. And it’s not only by paying a $200m entry fee but it needs to demonstrate, in my opinion, what it can do for all the other teams, F1 and the FIA. Only then the sport will grow.
“We are the absolute pinnacle, this is the Champions League, or the NFL, and redistributing franchises on the go that’s not how it should be and it’s not the intention of Formula 1 and the FIA either. But if there is a real brand coming in with good people, necessary funding – not only the $200m, but probably you need more around a billion if you want to play in this club straight from the get go – then why not?”
AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost was also on the fence, saying the existing teams need to accept Andretti, not just F1 and the FIA.
“We are 10 teams, and I think 10 really good teams,” Tost said. “At the end this is a decision from the FIA and from FOM. If Michael wants to come with a new team and if all the ingredients are coming together, and if all the teams also accept it then yes, otherwise no.”
However, there was clear support from McLaren, as Andreas Seidl feels more teams would actually help the value of the existing entrants.
“From our side we definitely would welcome the Andretti team, because the Andretti name, a U.S. team would help to grow the sport further in the U.S.,” Seidl said. “I think it would also simply open up more possibilities again to get young drivers in, the more teams we have.
“And in the end the earlier we get to 12 teams, for example – which is the maximum we can have – I think would just help to drive the franchise value even higher for us teams. So, absolutely open for it, would love to compete with them.”
Rossi reiterated his stance from Monday night, adding he likes the idea of added competition for the current grid.
“I welcome it, if it’s accretive,” Rossi said. “I think Andretti could have that potential because there is the U.S. aspect of it. We’ll see. I think it would be nice to spice things up on the track as well, which is good. It’s better to move the hierarchy a little bit over time a bit, I guess.”